As the 60th birthday of Peter Tatchell, today also marks 45 years of human rights campaigns by the Australian-born activist.
Having been a constant voice for equality and a thorn in the side of the establishment since he arrived in Britain over forty years ago, the political tide has moved with Mr Tatchell and he has been hailed as a national treasure.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has praised him as “a tireless campaigner against homophobia, racism and sexism and for civil liberties and social justice”, and that violent opposition never “bullied him into silence”.
Below, figures from public life share with PinkNews.co.uk their messages to Peter Tatchell on his 60th birthday:
“Happy Birthday, Peter, and thank you for your magnificent stubbornness and refusal to just go away, as many people, on all sides of the political divide, would have liked you to have done. You’ve changed our world for the better.”
- Simon Callow
“Peter is a whirlwind of energy pursuing change with dignified impatience, and total resistance to the power of human rights abusers. He recognises no barriers in the pursuit of human rights, and is a shining example in giving a voice to those who cannot or will not be heard. We have occasionally disagreed, but we have always been united in our commitment to the absolute universality of human rights. I look forward to his next 60 years!”
- Michael Cashman MEP
“He has the roar of a lion and the purr of a kitten.”
- Lt Dan Choi
“Happy Birthday Peter, you’re a campaigner like no other who has dedicated your life to support causes you are passionate in regardless of who you might upset along the way. That dedication is inspiring for me and I’m sure many others. While I don’t agree with everything you say, I respect every word because I know that without your bravery and determination the freedoms we enjoy today would not quite be the same.
“Thank you too so much for the support and assistance that you have given me and all of the team over the almost seven years since PinkNews was first conceived.”
- Benjamin Cohen, Channel 4 Technology Correspondent and PinkNews.co.uk founder
“I stand in awe of Peter Tatchell. Most of us just sit and talk about things, but he goes out and actually does them. Not just for the gay community, but for human rights. May he never stop!”
- Russell T Davies
“I warmly congratulate Peter Tatchell on his birthday. There are many years left for campaigning after 60. I know I have just discovered this for myself!”
- Simon Hughes, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats
“The contribution he has given to the fight for LGBT rights over the last 45 years deserved to be recognised and I’m sure that the whole LGBT community will join me today in wishing Peter a fantastic 60th Birthday.”
- Stephen Gilbert MP
“Happy Birthday to a true star. A man that fights for what he believes in. Long may your hard work continue to pay off. Peter Tatchell, I salute you.”
- Andrew Hayden Smith
“Pride London would like to wish Peter Tatchell a very happy 60th birthday today and take this opportunity to reflect on his tireless campaigning, especially for LGBT rights.
“Peter has brought to the front many issues that have since dominated the world stage. One which made a particular impact on us here at Pride was his exposure of the execution of two gay teenagers in Iran in 2005. Peter refused to accept the official line that the boys were executed for rape and refused to let the international community forget it either.
“It is this passionate dedication to his work, regardless of the personal danger it has put him in, which makes Peter such a unique and vital figure on the gay rights scene. We at Pride have been privileged to work with Peter over the years and number him among our patrons and we hope to continue to do so for many years to come.”
- Pride London
“All of us at Stonewall send Peter our very best wishes on his 60th birthday.”
“Peter Tatchell is a man who has endlessly campaigned for human rights in all areas of life. He is one of life’s greats, someone who is happy to accept any judgements that others place onto him for the greater good of humanity. A fighter, a brave man and one we can all learn from. Happy Birthday, sir.”
- Will Young